Loading...
To the person suggesting the postal service remove the word rain from their creed, they might as well just get a new...

Senators must stand fast for reproductive rights

SCOTUS-ADF

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.

Loading…

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Setting aside whether the Senate should confirm a Supreme Court nominee in an election year (the Merrick Garland rule) or whether a president should be allowed to appoint a justice while still under the cloud of the Russian meddling investigation (given the variety of issues such as whether a president can pardon himself potentially to be settled by the nation’s highest court), the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy raises a more fundamental concern: What does it mean for the future of women’s reproductive rights?

Good luck getting a straight response on that subject from any Republican. Oh, it appears everyone from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to President Donald Trump knows the answer, but they have now entered what might be described as the “wink and nod” mode during which they communicate only through the most circumspect means. The long-standing goal of social conservatives and the Trump coalition is to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban legal abortions, of course, but they know admitting that now would cost them at least two critical votes, those cast by Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, both of whom claim to support women’s right to choose.

So there was Sen. Collins on network television offering herself as some kind of bulwark against the return of back-alley medical care, boldly declaring that any nominee “who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me.” And how would she determine who might be hostile to abortion rights? Here’s the rub. She said she needed to hear that the nominee would respect judicial precedent. Get it? Roe was decided in 1973. It’s precedent. Can’t touch that if you respect prior court’s decisions, right?

Well, actually, no. There are all kinds of ways the Supreme Court can undermine abortion rights. Just this term, the court blocked a California law requiring pregnancy crisis centers to share information about abortion and contraception. And given that these faith-based anti-abortion centers are more common than facilities where women in the Golden State can actually learn about abortion, the court is already catering to the anti-abortion crowd by keeping a lid on the truth.

Most importantly, the swing vote on that 5-4 decision came from Neil Gorsuch, who declined to say much about his views on abortion cases when he was grilled by senators last year. Oh, he was all for precedent, but on Roe v. Wade, he had little to say other than acknowledging it had been “been reaffirmed many times, I can say that.”

Such coyness under fire is hardly unprecedented. John Roberts took a similar approach during his confirmation, famously calling Roe the “settled law of the land” despite writing a brief during the George H.W. Bush administration in which he argued the Constitution provided no support for Roe and that it was wrongly decided. Where does the chief justice stand now? It’s hard to say, but Senator Collins’ observation that Justices Roberts and Gorsuch would not overturn Roe because they respect legal precedent seems extraordinarily naive — or a deliberate fudging of the facts. Just last week, the two men demonstrated their respect for precedent in overturning longstanding organized labor rights in the Janus v. AFSCME case.

The far more likely scenario is that there are all sorts of ways the Supreme Court can chip away at abortion rights short of overturning Roe (like the Iowa law banning abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as the sixth week — that was scheduled to go into effect this week but is now under a legal challenge). President Trump knows this. Senator McConnell knows this. The Federalist Society, which knows how to help Trump pick a nominee antagonistic toward Roe without a paper trail, knows this, too.

Let’s stop the pretense. President Trump let it slip Sunday that he expects the court will soon put the future of abortion rights in the hands of states. That’s the plan. And allowing yourself to be duped, Sen. Collins, isn’t the same thing as standing up for women’s rights.

The Baltimore Sun

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

September 18, 2018

"The youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply," Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday, as he issued the federal government's most forceful warning yet that these electronic nicotine-delivery devices are hooking a generation of teenagers. He promised that…

Flavored Vaping Sales Ban

September 17, 2018

America shouldn’t be in the coup business. Period.

It’s a relief, then, to learn that the Trump administration chose not to aid rebellious leaders in Venezuela seeking to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. But it’s worrisome to think that President Trump and his advisers…

Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

September 14, 2018

Over the past few decades, there has been a proliferation of criminal statutes and regulations carrying criminal penalties at the federal level. As Congress debates criminal justice reform, mens rea reform should be on the table.

For years, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced and called for…

Trump Finance-3

September 13, 2018

It is tremendously sad and horrific to think about the forthcoming disaster and what it could bring to our communities and our neighbors to the south. We did nothing, really, other than live like we always have, to bring this on ourselves. Nevertheless, it is here.

Hurricane Florence, a major storm…

091218Sandbagging-4.jpg

September 12, 2018

You can add the name Jordan McNair to the list of college, high school and middle school players who might have needlessly died for the love of football.

A simple, well-known procedure — immersing McNair, 19, in a tub of ice water — when he collapsed at an off-season University of…

082918ECUFootball-5.jpg

September 11, 2018

By now, few might lift an eyebrow at President Trump’s crusade to delegitimize his own Justice Department and, specifically, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It long ago became clear that Trump regards federal law enforcement — as he sees all of government — as a political…

Trump Sessions

September 08, 2018

Republican state lawmakers decided last week to investigate the Cooper administration’s slow response to Hurricane Matthew relief in some of the state’s hardest-hit areas. That could be a useful exercise, if our legislators use what they find to fix real problems, and they don’t…

090518Cooper-HilmaGreens-2

September 07, 2018

When all of the state’s living former governors, including Pat McCrory, and all of the state’s former chief justices, including arch-conservative I. Beverly Lake Jr., come out against something unanimously, chances are it’s a bad idea.

Even the General Assembly had to notice…

North Carolina Ballot Battle

September 07, 2018

If President Donald Trump hadn’t bragged at a campaign rally in Alabama that if he were an NFL owner, he would fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt during the national anthem, would Colin Kaepernick be a face of Nike’s Just Do It campaign?

Would a black-and-white image of…

Kaepernick Nike

September 06, 2018

State Treasurer Dale Folwell asked a simple question: How much should North Carolina taxpayers be shelling out for state workers to receive care at UNC Health medical facilities?

The University of North Carolina Health Care System’s answer: That’s a secret.

State employees won’t…

103 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»